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Yanks Should Pass on Long-Term Pitching Contracts



By Mike Silva ~ November 8th, 2011. Filed under: New York Yankees.

Yankees fans have spoken on NYBD and it appears they don’t want C.J. WilsonIn a poll that went active yesterday morning (as of this writing) 50% voted for Yu Darvish as their preferred choice, Mark Buehrle came in second at 26%, and C.J. Wilson came in fourth, behind acquiring another organizations starting pitcher (15%), at 6%.

I am here to tell the 50% they are wrong. There is no reason for the Yankees to go long-term with any pitching contract this winter. They already have their ace locked up for the next five years. They have a solid #3 in Ivan Nova. For as overpaid he is, A.J. Burnett is just fine as a backend of the rotation starter. As for the #5, they could re-sign Freddy Garcia and have him battle it out with other scrap heap pickups and the kids like Adam WarrenDellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos; may the best man win.

That brings me to the rotation void; the number two. It’s been a void since Andy Pettitte retired last year. The Yankees could use  C.J. Wilson, Edwin Jackson, and Yu Darvish to plug it and hope their “ace upside” gives them a 1-A with Sabathia. Those two also could be bad enough where you stop talking about “electric A.J” for good. If we were talking a 2-3 year deal I think the risk would be worth it. In both cases you are talking long-term years and money, and with Darvish, a posting fee as well. Enter the one year stopgap of either Roy Oswalt or Mark Buehrle. I would pick the Chicago lefty over Oswalt because of his American League track record and my concerns over Oswalt’s bad back.

Back on September 15th, I wrote the following about Buehrle:

Buehrle doesn’t dominant, but he gives you innings and quality starts. He can easily win 18 games with a high caliber offensive team like the Yankees. He would provide the kind of consistent pitching behind Sabathia that A.J Burnett is incapable of doing.

In 2009, Andy Pettitte gave you 194 innings, a 4.16 ERA, and 14 wins. His ERA+ was a solid above league average 111. For his career, an average Buehrle season is 220 innings, 15 wins, a 3.83 ERA, and ERA+ of 120. He could ably take the ball in Game 2 of any postseason series. I wouldn’t flinch with Buehrle on the mound in Fenway Park, Comerica, or Arlington if the Yankees needed a win. That is the kind of pitcher they need in 2012 to get over the hump and return to the World Series.

Buehrle might not command more than a 2-year deal for $28 to $30 million. Maybe you add in a vesting option for a third. By the time his contract is up you will know if the Betances’, Banuelos’, and Warren’s are ready. This plan doesn’t block any of the young arms and that should be a priority this offseason.

If they are so itchy to give out a long-term deal, wait till next offseason and do it with Cole Hamels or Matt Cain.

***

I know there still is a contingency that wants Brian Cashman to push hard for another team’s pitcher such as Gio Gonzalez, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, or Felix Hernandez. The reality of the situation is the Yanks will be forced to overpay for any of those arms and clean out their farm system.

As I said yesterday, the Yankees haven’t made a significant trade since they acquired Javier Vazquez and Curtis Granderson in December of 2009. Both of those moves had huge salary implications. Young pitchers may fall into that category (i.e. Cain), but teams appear set in forcing the Yankees to pay more than full market value.

Don’t like it? Blame the arrogance of someone like Randy Levine. You set a gold standard for overpaying for players like Rafael Soriano, why not overpay for star caliber players. You can’t have it both ways.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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15 Responses to Yanks Should Pass on Long-Term Pitching Contracts

  1. Frank Russo

    Mike,

    I just wanted to clear up some things here.

    You wrote “As for the #5, they could re-sign Freddy Garcia and have him battle it out with other scrap heap pickups and the kids like Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos; may the best man win.”

    Warren, Betances and Banuelos are not ready, so that is a moot point. Cashman has said as much in his interviews. The Yankees feel that they have not accrued enough minor league innings.

    Also, there is no guarantee that Nova will have the same kind of season as he did in 2011.

    You are also forgetting Phil Hughes, who will get a clear shot at the rotation. He seems to be the forgotten man.

  2. Brien Jackson

    “Buehrle might not command more than a 2-year deal for $28 to $30 million. Maybe you add in a vesting option for a third.”

    I’d rather just light $30 million on fire and inhale the ink. Buehrle and Cain have the same problem; their names far outpace their actual talent. Someone is going to give them too much and be left holding the bag, and I’d much prefer it to not be the Yankees.

    As for Wilson, hooray for media inundation I guess. I’m not confident in his ability to hold up for 4 or 5 years per se, but this idea that he’s not really a good pitcher is absurd.

    Where the trade market is concerned, I think the real “problem” is that *teams don’t want to trade these players.* That makes speculation a lot less fun, but it is what it is. Lincecum, Cain, Felix, etc. won’t get traded simply because it doesn’t make any sense for their teams to trade them. If it does make sense, then a deal might happen. Pedantic, I know, but it’s the truth.

  3. Chuck Johnson

    ” The Yankees feel that they have not accrued enough minor league innings.”

    Thanks to the stupid organizational policy on pitch counts.

    Imagine of Madison Bumgarner was in the Yankees’ system.

  4. Brien Jackson

    “Thanks to the stupid organizational policy on pitch counts.”

    Good God you’re an idiot.

  5. Stu B

    Glad to see that the always-entertaining “Chuck and Brien Show” is back on the air!

  6. Brien Jackson

    To wit, Chuck’s an idiot because he apparently doesn’t even care to look up easily accessed information about players he clearly knows nothing about. Pitch counts notwithstanding, there’s really no case to be made that any of these pitchers have had their innings totals artificially decreased. To wit:

    -Betances has 426 career minor league innings despite losing a year to an elbow injury that set back his schedule, and caused him to throw just 129 innings between 2009 and 2010. He increased his workload by an even 41 innings between 2010 and 2011.

    -Warren simply hasn’t been in the system very long, since he was just drafted in 2009. In his two full years in the organization, he’s thrown 135 innings in 2010, and then 152.1 innings in Triple-A in 2011. Add in his stint at Staten Island in 2009, and in less than three full seasons Warren has thrown 344.1 total minor league innings, with 44% of them coming at the Triple-A level.

    -As for Banuelos, what people forget about him is that *he’s really freaking young!* The kid doesn’t even turn 21 until March. 21! And yet, he’s already thrown 345 minor league innings and cracked Triple-A, this despite an appendix issue that limited him to 64.2 IP in 2010. By way of contrast, at the same age Matt Moore had thrown 197 total innings, and had a whopping total of zero innings thrown above the Low-A level.

    In other words, as per usual, Chuck is completely full of crap.

  7. David, Jr.

    A question for Chuck:

    What would you think that the trade cost would be for Gio Gonzalez?

    Thanks.

  8. Stu B

    “In other words, as per usual, Chuck is completely full of crap.”

    How will Chuck respond in the next episode? Inquiring minds want to know!

  9. Benny

    Mike:

    It’s hard being a Met fan down here in Philly but I still enjoy it!

    The question on Long Term contracts should not just apply to the Mets and the Evil Empire but also the other teams in the MLB.

    David Montgomery the President of the Phillies had an interesting discussion for about a couple of hours this past summer at Springfield Township High School with baseball fans asking him all questions about the game,personalities and the business of running the Phillies. One of the questions that came up was whether or not clubs could still buy insurance on players with large contracts. To paraphrase him the ability to insure these contracts has become more difficult and that some clubs are choosing which players they will insure and which they will not. If anything the premiums are certain to rise more on a percentage basis than the general market (life,auto) since the value of these contracts are getting larger. And if they can not insure these contracts clubs like the Mets or the Rays will be hestiant to offer long term large value contracts to players!

  10. T.O. Chris

    Buehrle is going to get a 3 year deal from somewhere, and it won’t be a vested 3rd year. Reports are the White Sox are willing to go 2 years right now, and I don’t see him leaving Chicago unless he gets a better deal than they offer (outside of maybe signing 2 years with St. Louis). At this length Buehrle isn’t a stop-gap, he becomes a 33 year old number 4 starter who will be signed through his age 36 season. The Yankees need is a number 2 starter, not a number 4 starter who will provide inning. If we needed a reliable back of the rotation starter Mark would be perfect, but unfortunately we have plenty of back of the rotation types and not enough front end pitchers.

  11. Stu B

    @TO Chris: Check your math. If Buehrle’s 33 and signs a 3-year deal, he’ll be signed through his age 35 season.

  12. Daler

    Chuck Johnson has ruined this site

  13. Chuck Johnson

    “How will Chuck respond in the next episode? Inquiring minds want to know!”

    Diplomacy.

    Picture Steven Tyler responding to American Idol contestants.

    What can he say to people not qualified to be in the same room with him without coming off as a total bleephole?

    It’s a gift.

  14. Brien Jackson

    That might be the first time I’ve ever seen somene *want* to be compared favorably to Steven Tyler (also the first time I’ve seen someone admit to watching American Idol in the last three years or so). I’m not sure there’s anything to add to that.

  15. T.O. Chris

    @ Stu, you are correct. Made the mistake of adding 3 to 33 instead of counting age per season.

    Rest of the post still stands and really the more important part is that he would be a back end guy eating innings, not the top of the rotation arm we need.

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